Debate Club

K-12 Education Should Take a Lesson from Colleges

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Yes, a college education is certainly "worth it" to the many students for whom college is a way out of cyclical poverty or geographic isolation. Community colleges often offer the first step on this journey--and are nimble and affordable--and therefore welcoming to a diverse population. The value of college as a way to access new opportunities cannot be underestimated.

[Today's Young Adults Suffering More Financially than Older Generations.]

Exacerbating the ways in which personal circumstances create the need for the opportunities provided by college, many of our high schools hinder student opportunities by clinging to a design developed for a factory-era population, making them less than ideal for college and career readiness in the 21st century. Pursuing a college education often provides the first opportunity for students to direct their own education, select courses that are meaningful to their future career interests, and work with teachers and fellow students as colleagues.

The inherent value of learning aside, the current reality is that a high school education leaves many young Americans unemployable and unprepared to meet future challenges. Students graduate without the communication, collaboration, and analysis skills that will help them be successful. To succeed in the antiquated structure of many public schools, students have to shut off their technology, separate what they are learning into the often arbitrary silos of discrete courses, and succeed at reproducing answers obtained through rote learning. These strategies are especially detrimental in the sciences, where mastery occurs through hands-on experimentation and problem solving. All too often, college is the first time that students have the opportunity to learn in this way.

[Average Student Debt Reaches All-Time High.]

We need to work to transform K-12 education so that the experience offers students opportunities to work in collaborative teams, use real-world data and experiences, and learn how to obtain, assemble, and analyze information. Students who are provided with a better foundation for college success will find ways to make that college education worth even more than it is now. To make the college experience even more valuable, we need to help students "learn how to learn" earlier in their education. Students who enter secondary education with the skills to communicate, collaborate, discern, and prioritize will achieve far more in college, be better informed when making decisions about careers and majors, and would understand the value of asking good questions.

Tom Carroll

About Tom Carroll President of the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future

Tags
K-12 education
colleges
student loans

Other Arguments

#1
185 Pts
With College, Only the Motivated Need Apply

No – With College, Only the Motivated Need Apply

Craig Brandon Author of 'The Five-Year Party: How Colleges Have Given Up On Educating Your Child' and 'What You Can Do About It'

#2
117 Pts
Going to College Is a Mistake for Many

No – Going to College Is a Mistake for Many

Richard Vedder Director of Center for College Affordability and Productivity

#3
81 Pts
With College Degree, One Size Does Not Fit All

Yes – With College Degree, One Size Does Not Fit All

Peter Konwerski Senior Associate Vice President and Dean of Students at George Washington University

#4
56 Pts
Government Is Behind the Curve

No – Government Is Behind the Curve

Lindsey Burke Senior Policy Analyst in Domestic Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation

#5
50 Pts
College Is a Safe Bet

Yes – College Is a Safe Bet

Julie Margetta Morgan Policy Analyst with the Postsecondary Education Program at the Center for American Progress

#6
45 Pts
You Can Lead Kids to College but You Can't Make Them Learn

No – You Can Lead Kids to College but You Can't Make Them Learn

Naomi Schaefer Riley Author of 'The Faculty Lounges ... And Other Reasons Why You Won't Get the College Education You Pay For'

#7
32 Pts
Some Career Pathways Require a Four-Year Degree, Many Don't

Yes – Some Career Pathways Require a Four-Year Degree, Many Don't

Robert B. Schwartz Francis Keppel Professor of Practice in Educational Policy and Administration at Harvard University

#8
10 Pts
College Graduates Earn Higher Pay

Yes – College Graduates Earn Higher Pay

Anthony P. Carnevale Director of Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce

#10
0 Pts
Economy Puts a Premium on Postsecondary Skills

Yes – Economy Puts a Premium on Postsecondary Skills

Kevin Carey Policy Director of Education Sector

#11
-19 Pts
More, Better Jobs for College Graduates

Yes – More, Better Jobs for College Graduates

Chris Farrell Economics Editor of 'Marketplace Money'

#12
-68 Pts
A Degree Is Well Worth the Time, Cost, and Effort

Yes – A Degree Is Well Worth the Time, Cost, and Effort

Cecilia Elena Rouse Katzman-Ernst Professor in the Economics of Education and Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Princeton University

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